Children at birth must be tested to certify that their health is stable. One of the tests is neonatal screening, which must be conducted 72 hours after the infant is born.
The neonatal screening test is a procedure that requires extreme care from the time the sample is taken from the newborn, until the final results are obtained. Specific parameters of the baby should be taken into account such as weight and fetal maturity at birth (this is considered for some specific tests), and the need to take a new sample from the baby to confirm any particular outcome, should not be discarded.
In the Clinical Laboratory at Punta Pacifica Hospital, the screening test is performed with six metabolic tests; these procedures are supervised by qualified personnel and the results should be ready within a period no longer than seven days.
This test is designed to look for some diseases that at a given time can be treated to prevent neurological complications which can lead to retarded development of the infant. In the absence of the test, the child's life is at risk.
In Panama, it is mandatory to perform this test in all hospitals, both public and private, and it consists of a blood sample taken from the infant's heel. Decree No. 4 of January 8, 2007 created the National Neonatal Screening Program. With the completion of this test, congenital diseases (i.e., acquired during pregnancy) are detected.
The cost of the exam is B/.60.00, and it includes: